2003 Woop Woop South Eastern Australian Shiraz

2003 Woop Woop South Eastern Australian Shiraz $9

I dare you to try to find something that won’t go with this one!

This is a very dark purple, very aromatic, very well-balanced wine. Given the price, you can’t go wrong.

The wine is very dark purple, but it is also very clear. The legs are very nice. So there is going to be a little heat in this one.

There are tons of berry aromas here the most prevalent I believe is plum and I think it is blackberry that is holding that up.

With the first taste, I did a “WOW!” There is a lot of fruit, but there is also a lot of spice. I had to check the receipt again. This one is normally $10, but I used it to help fill out a case so I could get the 10% case discount. I now wish that I’d filled all of the empty slots with this one.

I tried it with spicy food, dark chocolate and even some Newberry Springs, California Pistachios from Kevin and Vonnie’s pistatio farm.

2000 Lanzerac Merlot

2000 Lanzerac Merlot

I’m drinking a Merlot?

I don’t have the receipt handy, but I think this one cost about $22.

The color is deep red, with a nice clear edge.

The aroma is bold and smoky with a touch of blackberry. There is also a touch of chocolate in there trying to work its way through to your nose.

The flavor is definitely un-Merlot like. This is a big wine, not like your typical wimpy Merlot. This one actually has flavor. Oh, I apologize to all you Merlot drinkers out there. But if you are like me, and don’t like the soft, bitter taste and harsh finish of a typical Merlot, then this is THE Merlot for you.

I had it with smoked salmon. The two stood up to each other quite well.

2003 Barrel 27 Syrah

2003 Barrel 27 Appellation Paso Robles Syrah $16

Okay, someone said “You should try this…” And I bought the last two bottles.

Now I know why they have none left. This is a spectacular Syrah.

I really know nothing about this one, and the label is of little help. It says that it was produced and bottled by Herman Story Wines.

The color is very dark purple and I like that. I smell lots of dark fruit – somewhere between a dark cherry and blackberry, and I like that too. Oh, and since someone made a big deal out of it, commenting on another post – this one has nice legs!

The flavors include the aforementioned blackberry, just a touch of earthiness or leather, I’m not sure which. I’m also going to go out on a limb and say there is a buttery characteristic on the beginning of the finish. (Does that make any sense?)

The taste curve on this one is very nice, very balanced. I really love the finish.

I paired this with a heavily peppered filet browned in a bit of olive oil in a skillet. I served a fresh, sliced Romano tomato on the side. I splashed a little of the wine in the skillet drippings, added a little cream, butter and Kitchen Bouquet and served that over the steak, and of course sopped up the rest with a little cracked wheat-sourdough bread.

Amazing combination.

Good luck finding any though…

2002 Paringa Cabernet Sauvignon Individual Vineyard

2002 Paringa Cabernet Sauvignon Individual Vineyard $9

Dark purple, very fruity, a touch of flowers, perhaps a little vanilla. My first thought when I opened it was that there was something fishy about this wine. Really, I thought that I could smell something like seafood. Perhaps even a touch of lobster. But it went away. This is a very young wine. I don’t know if it will get better with age. If you could get it a little cheaper than what I paid, you’d be very happy with it.

2002 Turkey Flat Barossa Valley Shiraz

2002 Turkey Flat Barossa Valley Shiraz $36

This one is very fruity, very spicy and very big.

It’s been a while since I’ve had an Australian Shiraz. I had not heard of this one, but my local wine merchant suggested that I might like this one.

Holy Cow!

On the label, it says “This wine will benefit from at least 10 years cellaring…” They are probably right, but what fun is that? I say go ahead and drink it now!

I poured the wine into my glass. The blackberry aroma caught my attention almost as fast as the dark, almost ink-like color. I think that was my first hint that this one is a winner.

In the mouth, this wine is bright, bold and indeed young. There is the blackberry, a bit of raspberry, and a touch of plum. The finish is long, and very nice. I’ll be going back for more.

I paired it with a Capriotti’s Cheese Steak, with grilled onions and hots – of course. This combination is amazing!

1999 Kelham Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

1999 Kelham Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon $45

This is an outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon.

I bought these at a special tasting with Ron Nicholsen, one of the winemakers, in July, 2003, and I’ve been dying to try one.

Pulling the cork, I got a whiff and knew instantly that this one could sit another ten, twenty or more years. It is HUGE! I poured a bit into my glass and took a sip. My first thought was that I should put the cork back in and put it back in the cellar for a couple of years because it was a very young wine. What I did instead was a little decanting. I served it with a premium dark chocolate, which turned out to be an excellent combination.

Someone in the group said “This is the best wine that I’ve ever tasted!” I will say that I’ve tasted some that I thought were a bit better but cost three times as much as this one. So for me, this one is a great bargain, and I will say that it is among the best wines that I’ve ever tasted also.

So what did it taste like, you ask? Here were the comments from the group. Black current, toffee or caramel and chocolate.

Did I mention that this one is outstanding?

1999 Robert Biale Monte Rosso Vineyard Zinfandel

1999 Robert Biale Monte Rosso Vineyard Zinfandel $38

I love the Robert Biale Black Chicken Zinfandel, but I like this one a lot also. For me, this Zinfandel defines the point where if it is any more ripe or jammy, then I don’t want it. Unfortunately for me and a few others that I know, the mass market wants them with as much jam and raisin character as they can get.

This wine is big and spicy with a lot of blackberry and pepper. It feels wonderful in the mouth, and I shed a tear when the bottle was empty.

Rosenblum Daniellé $16 (non-vintage)

Rosenblum Cellars Daniellé A Tawny California Desert Wine With Natural Chocolate Flavors $16 (non-vintage)

What can I say? This is desert in a glass. Really, you can just pour an ounce or two, and sip it after dinner while talking with friends or watching a movie. This stuff is really nice. I think that they used to call this a Tawny Port, but probably for legal reasons changed the name. In any case it has a lot of character. There is of course a lot of chocolate flavor and a bit of wood flavor over the top of vanilla, black cherry and a hint of citrus.

EOS Paso Robles Zinfandel 2001

So this one was a gift from my daughter… If you are into Zins and tired of those big jammy fruit bombs and think you are ready to work your way into the spicier (“hotter”) ones, at $13 this one qualifies as a decent entry level.

Don’t expect anything like a Lamborn, D-Cubed, or Biale Black Chicken. This one has a clear garnet color with a fairly clear rim (a sign of a young wine?) and decent legs. The nose has raspberry and currant with a touch of pepper and spice. The spice comes out a bit more on the palate with some clove and pepper along with the berry. Not a bad finish either; even a bit of heat — not much, but enough to get you started into the hotter Zins.

Try a bottle or two of this one and then head for the ones that really pack the heat.